World Champion to focus on one-day races through 2016
World Champion Philippe Gilbert will continue to ride with BMC Racing Team with the announcement on Tuesday that his contract has been extended.
His current arrangement with the team was due to expire at the end of next season.
"I'm happy I made this choice a few weeks ago," said Gilbert. "For me the most important [races] are the Classics and I have a really strong team for this, so I will focus in the future on them. I think the one-day races are my specialty
"I can do better than the last two years and my ambition is to win some with this team, BMC."
Gilbert dominated the Ardennes in 2011 in his final season with Omega Pharma-Lotto, claiming the clean sweep of Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege but with the world championships his primary goal of 2012, he did not replicate that early season form. This year, the Belgian again failed to reach the podium in his favourite events, fifth at Amstel Gold Race, 15th at Flèche Wallonne and 7th Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In fact, since claiming the rainbow jersey, Gilbert is yet to get a win.
"After the Tour de France, he will focus on the one day ProTour races and his defense of his world championship title," said team general manager Jim Ochowicz. "Our future years together offer many opportunities to capture victories in his favorite races."
The recently-turned 31-year-old will race the Vuelta a Espana in the lead-up to his quest for back-to-back world championship victories, and if successful, will be the first repeat winner since Paolo Bettini in 2006, 2007.
"For sure it's a big goal," Gilbert said. "I'm already starting to think about this. My ambition is to finish this Tour with good condition and then go to the Vuelta and come better again."